Tuesday, July 26, 2016

RM30b added to rail project to pay off 1MDB debts, alleges S'wak Report

 Published     Updated

Whistleblower website Sarawak Report has accused Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's administration of collusion with main contractor China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) to hike up the cost of the double-track East Coast Rail Project (ECRP) from RM30 billion to RM60 billion to secretly pay off 1MDB debts.

"The PM’s ‘cunning plan’ is to get the government to agree to inflate the actual cost of the East Coast Rail Project from only RM30 billion to RM60 billion, all to be borrowed from the Chinese government, in order to disguise the payment of 1MDB’s (and financier Jho Low’s) company debts," read the website's report.

Citing a whistleblower who allegedly provided copies of internal CCCC documents which detailed the supposed plan, Sarawak Report claimed that the government is set to approve the award of the contract to the firm, but with "a differential" of RM30 billion on top of the initial estimate.

The extra RM30 billion would be allegedly used to pay off 1MDB debts after the proposed project is to be approved at an inflated RM60 billion by the cabinet tomorrow.
Malaysiakini is unable to independently verify these allegations or the authenticity of the documents posted by the website.

According to Sarawak Report, China’s state-owned CCCC would purportedly help pay off 1MDB debt in advance and progressively, through several engineered transactions.

This includes allegedly pay off Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) debts on 1MDB's behalf, with an unrelated Chinese third party to front the transaction.

Secondly, it alleged that CCCC would also pay 1MDB an inflated price for the Ayer Itam land it purchased to pad the investment arm's coffers, as well as assume responsibility for repayment of several other debts owed by the Malaysian state investment arm.

All this, claimed the website, is to be funded by a loan from China to the Malaysian government, which taxpayers would eventually have to pay for in the course of the next seven years.

CCCC to be ‘rewarded’

In return, the website alleged that the CCCC would be rewarded with high profits, land, and extra influence with the Malaysian government, quoting the internal report it said blatantly laid out the plan.

"CCCC says it has been given land on generous terms, including a chunk of land which was given cheap by Najib to 1MDB, then inflated in value at Ayer Item – the land which is valued at US$1.3 billion will be offered to CCCC for US$850 million.

"CCCC will also get tax breaks including from GST for the next 10 years. And then, as a Chinese state-owned company, CCCC notes the benefit of the extended influence over Malaysia the project and the massive loan of the cash (at a generous 2% interest rate) will provide," read the report.

Sarawak Report also alleged that the secret 1MDB debt pay-off also included monies to be channelled through flamboyant tycoon Jho Low, via the purchase of two companies he supposedly controls, Loh & Loh Corporation Berhad and Putrajaya Perdana Berhad.

Jho Low was named US Department of Justice last Thursday in court filings where the DOJ is seeking to seize assets that it said were the result of US$3.5 billion that was misappropriated from 1MDB.

Sarawak Report added that the two subsidiaries of Utama Banking Group, Putrajaya Perdana and Loh & Loh were identified as companies controlled by Jho Low, with Putrajaya Perdana having been implicated by investigators in allegedly funnelling cash from 1MDB’s subsidiary SRC International into Najib’s own personal accounts:
 
Sarawak Report noted that the names of both companies appeared on the diagram held up by attorney-general Mohamad Apandi Ali detailing MACC investigation findings into the matter. Malaysiakini has contacted the Prime Minister's Office, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai and the CCCC for comment and is awaiting their response.

The government has consistently accused Sarawak Report of being part of a conspiracy to topple the prime minister.

The ERCL will link Kuala Lumpur to Mentakab and Kuantan (Pahang), Kuala Terengganu (Terengganu), Kota Bharu and Tumpat (Kelantan).

~ Malaysiakini

1MDB and the US gov’t - what comes next?


 John Malott     Published     Updated

Some people were surprised when I said that the US government’s seizure of assets - condos, mansions, hotels, and art work - all of which were purchased with money stolen from 1MDB and the Malaysian people - was only the beginning.

It’s true. There’s lots more to come.

There will be criminal indictments coming, most likely including Riza Aziz and Jho Low, who both are very closely connected to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

There will be a mention in a future criminal prosecution of an “unindicted co-conspirator,” who now is widely known as ‘Malaysian Official 1’. When he no longer is in office, he will be indicted in the US.

Here are some thoughts about what happens next on the US side. The US government already has seized these assets, or asked other governments, such as Switzerland and the UK, to seize them.

So now Najib’s stepson Riza and his close adviser Jho Low cannot sell anything or try to get their money out of the US or other countries. They have been blocked.

Under US law, the next step is for Riza, Jho Low, and others to try and prove in a court of law that the assets that were seized from them truly were purchased with their own money - and not from funds stolen from 1MDB.

Of course, they cannot prove that. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) filing was meticulous, thorough, and totally professional. The evidence is all there. It even includes the transcripts of wiretapped phone calls of a panicked Jho Low talking to his bankers.
Thanks to the FBI and DOJ, it is so clear. We know where the money came from. It was stolen from the Malaysian people, through 1MDB.

Your money, not ours

As US attorney-general Loretta Lynch and the others pointed out many times, the money was stolen from the people of Malaysia. The assets belong to them.

So the US government will hold all of the seized assets - the real estate, the paintings, the rights to ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, etc - in trust on behalf of the people of Malaysia, from whom the money was stolen.

The assets will not belong to the US government.

(How ironic that the US attorney-general seems to care more about this thievery than the Malaysian attorney-general does...)

In the meantime, the US government will rent out Riza's condo in New York and his Beverly Hills house. It will take over the management of the hotels in New York and Beverly Hills that were purchased by Jho Low with the stolen money. The US government will collect the profits from all future sales of the DVDs and TV rights of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. The Monet and Van Gogh paintings will go on exhibition somewhere, so everyone can enjoy. And so on.

And all of the profit that is earned will be held in trust by the US government on behalf of the Malaysian people. It is your money, not ours.

What about Rosmah’s son, Riza?

Young Riza will soon be homeless. The US government has seized his homes.

In order to save itself and the films it has in production (including a new film about George Washington, starring Leonardo DiCaprio), I predict that Red Granite Pictures will get rid of Riza.

So Riza will be jobless, too.

When the US government files criminal charges against Riza (and I am sure they will), they will ask the court to seize his passport so he cannot leave the US.

The Malaysian Embassy in Washington may try to defraud the US government and issue a new passport to Riza, with a new number, so he can leave the country. At that point, we will see how efficient the US government is at catching this.

If the Malaysian government asks for the seized assets to be transferred back to them, the US government will do so.

But will Najib do that? No. If Najib asks for the money back, it means that he is admitting that the money was stolen from the development fund that he headed, that the stolen money went to his stepson and his "adviser" Jho Low, and that he has been lying about this to the Malaysian people for years.

So, of course he will never do that.

Asking for the money back will have to wait for a future prime minister.

And why would Najib want to ask "for the money back," when he and his family and cronies already have it - or have spent it?

An international pariah

From an international viewpoint, this is the end of Najib. He is an international pariah. The world now thinks he is a crook. He is a fraud. The world will want nothing to do with him. He will not be welcomed anywhere. When he speaks to the United Nations General Assembly next fall, there will be only 30 or so people in the room, mostly Malaysians. Other leaders will be embarrassed to be seen with him, to shake his hand, to be photographed with him.

As for Rosmah, her credit at Hermes and Tiffany's and elsewhere is now cut off. Those luxury stores now know the money was not hers. It was stolen from the Malaysian people. They do not want to be complicit in international money-laundering. They have their own reputations to protect.

That is how the world will react. But how will the Malaysian people react? Will Najib get away with this, back in Malaysia?

I fear that the answer is yes. If so, it means that Malaysia is now in Mugabe-Land.

The inspector-general of police (IGP) says that the US government never asked for cooperation from the Malaysian government in their investigation. Yet both the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the FBI have said that they cooperated with each other in this investigation. The IGP knows the truth, so why did he say otherwise? Why did he lie?

The Malaysian AG says that this is all speculation and innuendo, and that there is no proof of the US government's charges. Yet the US government has issued a very thorough, professional, and detailed 136-page filing of evidence with the court. It is there for the AG to read. Instead, why did he choose to insult the integrity of the US government? Why did he lie?

As long as Malaysia’s IGP and AG continue to deny the truth in the face of the overwhelming facts, we know where this is going.

How ironic it is, that is the US government - the FBI and the US attorney general - who are doing the job that the IGP and Malaysian AG should be doing.

As US AG Lynch said, this is the Malaysian people’s money. It is not America’s.

We want to give it back to you.

JOHN MALOTT is a former US ambassador to Malaysia.

~ Malaysiakini

Thursday, July 21, 2016

BARU BIAN'S SARAWAK DAY MESSAGE

22 JULY 2016

On this day, 22 July 2016, PKR Sarawak rejoices and celebrates together with all Sarawakians in welcoming this historic day. After 53 years, Sarawakians finally have a day to call our own, and we congratulate the Chief Minister for the courageous move to recognise a day to commemorate the beginning of a modern Sarawak.

This day has been a long time coming. Many Malaysians, and indeed Sarawakians, are unaware of the rich history of Sarawak, and of the events that led to the coming together of Sarawak, the former North Borneo (now Sabah), Singapore and Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia. I am gratified that Sarawakians have come to appreciate our history, and to the realization that the current state of affairs vis a vis the administration of the country and the division of resources etc between Peninsula Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak leaves much to be desired.

We are therefore glad that there is now a unifying force in Sarawak, ie a common pride in our own unique identity, history, culture and tradition that sets us apart from our Federation partners, while at the same time, a recognition that we belong in federation that is meant to be mutually beneficial to all parties. There is a steely determination to speak up to regain and protect our rights and interests regardless of our race, religion and political leanings.

Sarawak Day is especially significant as this year also marks the dawn of a maturing Sarawak, and if the push for the autonomy of Sarawak as a partner within the Federation should be successful eventually, Sarawak Day will be celebrated with even more jubilation in the years to come. We are united with the government in ensuring that the devolution of power becomes a reality, and we wish all Sarawakians a Happy Sarawak Day.

Baru Bian

Chairman PKRSarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan

Friday, July 15, 2016

BARU BIAN: ISMAIL SABRI’S DEFENCE OF UMNO YOUTH UNACCEPTABLE


PRESS STATEMENT
14 JULY 2016

I was appalled to read Ismail Sobri’s deplorable attempt at justifying the violent behavior of the UMNO youth red shirts at their protest outside DAP’s headquarters on Tuesday. “We cannot blame the UMNO youth as they are tasked to defend the integrity and dignity of the Malays who were insulted”, he is reported to have said.

Firstly, he is condoning the thuggery and hooliganism of the UMNO youth. Even he felt insulted, he said. As a Minister and a leader, he is expected to rise above this simplistic thinking. Violence of the kind displayed by the UMNO youth is unacceptable, no matter what provoked it. As a leader, we would expect him to condemn the behavior of these youths and advise them to leave the alleged insult to be dealt with by the authorities. By defending them, he is only serving to legitimise and fortify their misguided sense of superiority.

Secondly, who exactly tasked the UMNO youth to defend the integrity and dignity of the Malays and what is the ambit of this so-called task? They are but the youth wing of a political party and they do not represent the whole Malay community. I am sure that the many moderate Muslims in this country are horrified by their actions, but the Minister’s statement will be taken by these thugs to be a pat on the back for them and vindication of their actions. What might they do next time when they feel their dignity and pride has been insulted? They may be emboldened to be even more violent.

If we accept Ismail Sobri’s statement, does it then follow that the Chinese and the Indians and the Orang Asal are allowed to behave in a similar manner if they feel insulted? Not that they would, but if they did, the chances are that they would be arrested.

Marina Mahathir was spot on when she said that the failure of the political leaders to take action against Muslim ulama and Muslim groups found to insult others has caused extremism and the Islamic State mentality in Malaysia. This case is no different. The loutish behavior of UMNO youth is encouraged by the leaders of this country, when they make excuses for their inexcusable and even criminal actions.

The actions of the UMNO youth went beyond their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. The violence displayed by them was a breach of the law, and must be dealt with by the law. The law must be applied to all, irrespective of race or religion, and the leaders of this country must learn to be colour blind, and to be more judicious in the statements they make. Acts of violence must be condemned, and not defended, justified and excused.

Baru Bian
ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan




Thursday, July 14, 2016

TI-M: Now is the best time to declassify 1MDB audit report

Published  

In the wake of whistleblower site Sarawak Report's leaks on what it claimed to be parts of the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB, Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) believes that now is the best time to declassify the audit report.

The anti-corruption NGO's president, Akhbar Satar, found it strange that the report was still kept under wraps.

“The audit report gives us some of the truth, why the hesitation and indeed the refusal to ‘let the truth be told’?” he asked.

This is especially since the government had repeatedly denied wrongdoings in the 1MDB scandal and claimed that the allegations from various quarters were untrue, Akhbar said.

“The delay in declassifying the report allows the public to unnecessarily form its assumptions on what could have happened in 1MDB, including issues of the financial management of the company, dubious transactions and corrupt practices which ultimately may not be true,” he added.

In further questioning why the report was sealed under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), Akhbar wondered whether there was something inside the report that the government wants to hide from the public.

“If so, it can be considered an abuse of the OSA,” he said.

Declassifying the report would enable the government to prove to the public that it is transparent, accountable and that there is nothing to hide, he said.

“After all, this audit report is the result of following the prime minister’s own instructions to the auditor-general to audit 1MDB,” added Akhbar.

The right to know

He said declassifying the report would also stop Sarawak Report from further publishing its purported contents.

“Since 1MDB is owned by the government and funded using the taxpayers’ money, TI-M holds strongly to the view that the public has the right to know how the money was managed by the board of directors and senior management and if there was any fraud or wrongdoing committed by any of the persons entrusted to manage it,” he added.

Sarawak Report last week claimed it had gained access to the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB as well as key accompanying documents from the inquiry.
 
The whistleblower site listed out the various concerns that auditor-general Ambrin Buang had pointed out in his report, especially with regard to several questionable fund transfers.
The auditor-general’s report on 1MDB was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on March 4.

A month later, Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia had however refused to allow the report to be tabled in Parliament as the report had yet to be declassified.

Anyone found guilty of possessing OSA-classified documents is liable to punishment, among others, with at least a mandatory one-year jail sentence.

Dollah Kok Lanas’ conversations with Tunku

 P Gunasegaram     Published     Updated

“People can say anything about me but none will accuse me of ever having been a hypocrite.”
- Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first prime minister.

QUESTION TIME Two days after the death of controversial political figure Abdullah Ahmad, once political secretary to and close confidante of Malaysia’s second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, I looked for his book ‘Conversations with Tunku Abdul Rahman’ at a shop in Kuala Lumpur. It was released just months earlier.

I was curious as to what he had to say in the book and even more so the conversations with Tunku, Malaysia’s first prime minister, who stepped down in 1970 in the wake of the May 13, 1969 racial riots.

And the book did not disappoint for the useful nuggets of historical information it revealed which help to confirm long-held suspicions about May 13 and the way Tunku stepped down.

There’s lots more in the book but this review will focus mainly on May 13, Abdul Razak and Tunku’s relationship, Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman’s role in the conflict and what Tunku thought about Dr Mahathir Mohamad being chosen as deputy by Hussein Onn, who succeeded Abdul Razak as prime minister.

Curiously, the conversations were taped in the early eighties - 1982 to 1984 - more than a dozen years after Tunku stepped down as prime minister, and the book was written in 1985, over 30 years ago. But it was published recently in March 2016 for reasons only best known, but not divulged, by Abdullah, who was popularly known as Dollah Kok Lanas, after the Kelantan parliamentary constituency for which he was MP for a while.
 
The reasons why Dollah Kok Lanas (photo) took such a long time to publish the book died with him when he passed away last month from cancer, but when he published the book he knew that he did not have long to live and wanted that book to come out before his passing.

Significantly, Dollah dedicates the book “for the Tunku, still the greatest Malaysian” over Tunku’s successor Abdul Razak, whom Dollah was very close to, and former prime minister Mahathir, one of the then so-called young Turks which included former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam in their ranks, both of whom fiercely opposed the Tunku.

Dollah actually owes a debt of gratitude to Dr Mahathir, who wrote a foreword for this book, and who released Dollah along with others from detention under the infamous Internal Security Act. Dollah was detained from 1976 to 1981 during Hussein Onn’s time as prime minister by then-home minister Ghazali Shafie for being a communist. Dollah vehemently denied being a communist and alleged that Ghazali ordered his detention for being on the wrong side of political skullduggery at that time.

Looking through the book, the first thing that struck me was the inclusion of a letter from National Archives of Malaysia director-general Azemi Abdul Aziz dated March 11, 2015 certifying that there were indeed recordings of the conversation with Tunku and that the original tapes were deposited with the archives of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Suspected May 13 collusion

The book is not a continuous series of interviews but excerpts of interviews, with Dollah setting the stage with his own comments which, while always useful and interesting, are not always as impartial as they should have been. That also puts him in a place to pick and choose what he wants to use from the conversations, making the book in effect an edited conversation. But still there many nuggets of information which challenge the status quo.

Consider this extract of the conversation: “You (Dollah) knew Tun Razak well. He was a very ambitious man… When the 13 May (1969) race riots broke out he was in my house that day and Harun (Idris - then Selangor menteri besar and Umno leader) rang up my house and instead of asking for me, he asked to talk to Tun Razak... But Harun never rang me up.

“Remember the communist funeral procession? It precipitated the race riots. The permission to hold it was given by Tun Razak. I knew nothing of it… What perplexed me was, why did Tun Razak, and the security people (the police) allow the procession to take place this time, when the government had never before allowed them to hold demonstrations. To me, I think it was deliberately to embarrass me. Definitely to embarrass me!

“When Harun rang up to speak to Tun Razak, I suspected there must be some understanding. I don’t know. I don’t like to think about it.”
While Tunku said that Tun Razak “hurt me very much”, he had good things to say about Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman who re-joined the cabinet in 1969 following the May riots after stepping down in 1967.

“I have the greatest regard for Tun Ismail. He was very straight, very honest and very sincere. The work he did he did very well...

“You would remember wouldn’t you (to Dollah)? When you all wanted to play me out... Ismail told me, ‘You stay where you are. Don’t move. Let me do all the work for you.' So he came back to government. Tun Ismail stood by me during the race riots and during the subsequent power struggles in Umno.”  

Ismail became deputy prime minister to Abdul Razak after Tunku stepped down in 1970 but died in 1973, three years before Abdul Razak himself died of cancer in 1976 and Hussein Onn became prime minister.

The Tunku had some significant things to say about Hussein: “Hussein came to see me the day before he announced his cabinet line-up on March 5, 1976. He had come to tell me something but he never opened his mouth. The next morning, I heard he had made Dr Mahathir his deputy.

“I think he had come to see me to tell of his decision; but rather, he was following Tun Razak’s desire that Mahathir should be made deputy prime minister should he (Hussein) succeed him. He obviously picked Mahathir not because he wanted him but simply because he was carrying out the wishes of the man who had died.”

Tunku had expelled Mahathir in 1969 when he had criticised him and wrote an open letter against him. Mahathir was subsequently readmitted to Umno by Abdul Razak, given a parliamentary seat to contest in the 1974 election and given the important portfolio of education minister in Abdul Razak’s cabinet - one of the fastest, if not the fastest rise ever, among Umno leaders.

Tunku on Islam

These are just a sample of the interesting pieces of information emerging from the interview, appearing to confirm what people have been suspecting all along. There is more - on Tunku’s views about Islam, the Malays, the Indonesian confrontation, the rulers, the making of Malaysia and the expulsion of Singapore, all of which make compelling reading.

Here is just more extract - on his Muslimness: “Yes I was a playboy, a man of the world. I used to dance a lot. I smoke, I enjoy brandy, like my tea thick. I love horseracing and I play poker and other forms of gambling.

“But deep in my heart I have always been a religious man. I pray, I fast, I pay zakat fithrah (tithe) and I have been on a pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca)... and Allah knows all this and more. I have done and still continue to do a lot for Islam within Malaysia and outside Malaysia. None can and will deny that.

“People can say anything about me but none will accuse me of ever having been a hypocrite.”    

Certainly Dollah Kok Lanas’ book is an important one for it clarifies a lot in terms of the history of the times, establishing for instance even the Tunku’s preoccupation with maintaining Malay supremacy, while appearing to establish in Tunku’s mind at least, collusion between Abdul Razak and Mahathir in putting pressure on Tunku to step down.

It is a book that Malaysians who want greater clarity and accuracy of the events that shaped this country of ours would want to read, considering that much of recent history has been clouded and obfuscated by a controlled press which largely spews news favourable to the powers in office at the time and that there is little by way of research and study to make things clearer and closer to the truth.

Hopefully there may be more. The director-general of the National Archives says in the letter of affirmation of the tapes that “the complete recordings of their conversation will be made available after the demise of Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad”. Will there be more?

P GUNASEGARAM shares Abdullah Ahmad’s view that the Tunku is still the greatest Malaysian. Contact: t.p.guna@gmail.com.

Adelaide University removes Taib's name from its plaza

Published

Adelaide University has recently removed the name of Sarawak governor and former chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud from its plaza near its Law School in response to criticism about its dealings with Taib.

The university acted after succumbing to pressure from the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) and Australian environmental NGO the Bob Brown Foundation for the past two years to stop honouring Taib, whom they accused of having benefited from illegal logging of tropical rainforests in Sarawak.

BMF said in a press statement that the university had come under fire from civil society and the Australian Green party over its relationship with Taib, with whom it had helped raise A$400,000 (RM120,418.51) in personal donations, an amount it alleged exceeded the former chief minister's income.

The university had in 2008 named the plaza the 'Taib Mahmud Chief Minister of Sarawak Court' on its premises in what BMF claimed was “to show its appreciation of his significant support” and “personal generosity”.

Australian Greens MP Mark Parnell brought up the issue in the South Australian Parliament in 2015.
Parnell welcomed the move but criticised the university for its lack of transparency in its dealings with Taib.

Adelaide University spokesperson Lachlan Parker confirmed that the university council had “some months ago decided to rename the court the Colombo Plan Alumni Court and that the signage is currently being amended to reflect its decision”, BMF said.
 
BMF and the Bob Brown Foundation had called on Adelaide University to pay back the A$400,000 (about RM1.2 million) that it received from Taib. The donations were made between 1987 and 2006.

“In November 2015, indigenous Penan community leaders from Sarawak sent a letter to the university's vice-chancellor Warren Bebbington asking the university to pay back all the funds that it received from Taib as the money was urgently needed for the development of Sarawak’s rural communities and rainforest conservation,” said BMF.

“The university never replied to the letter,” it added.

Adelaide University told The Australian daily in 2013 that the university accepted Taib's gift in good faith "many years ago".

"No gifts have been accepted from him for more than seven years.

"The scholarships and facility named following Taib's gifts involved permanent trust obligations and agreements with which the university is bound to comply," a spokesperson reportedly said.

Malaysiakini is contacting Adelaide University for a response.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Aliran: Mr PM, you are challenged and dared! Will you sue?

 P Ramakrishnan     Published  

There seems to be no stopping Sarawak Report from exposing an avalanche of news about 1MDB that allegedly accuses the prime minister in a sinister manner and disparages and discredits his character and integrity.

Without let-up, Sarawak Report has come up with new disclosures successively on a daily basis over the last four days.

Sarawak Report seemingly possesses a wealth of damaging information about 1MDB that exposes the concerted efforts by the authorities to conceal and cover up the many wrongs and the mind-boggling blatant corruption that shrouds the 1MDB controversy.

It does no credit to the country or its leaders to constantly deny and condemn as false every time such disturbing news is made public by Sarawak Report. Mere denials without concrete evidence to nail the so-called lies and concoctions do not in any way enhance the government’s claimed version of their truth.

The government’s credibility is absolutely zero as far as 1MDB is concerned. Except for the government leaders and their lackeys, nobody seems to accept the clarification provided to counter Sarawak Report.

To make matters worse, the Sarawak Report publisher Clare Rewcastle-Brown has challenged Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to initiate extradition proceedings against her so that she can face trial in Malaysia.

“He should get on with it in the most publicly possible way so that all can judge his motives and justifications in an objective court of law - away from judges whom he appointed and controls.

“It is time the world started to learn what has happened to the once largely respectable and law-abiding government of Malaysia,” she said.

She is daring because she claims to have authentic information that will convict Najib in a court of law. She seems to be quoting heavily from the auditor general’s report which has been classified under the Official Secrets Act, thus making it unavailable not only to the general public but also putting it beyond the scrutiny of members of Parliament as well.

Unless the auditor-general’s report is declassified, there is no way to verify or refute what Sarawak Report claims. As long as the auditor general’s report is sealed in secrecy, the suspicion that the government is determined to cover up corruption will persist.

Establishing the truth in the court of public opinion

But if the government wants Malaysians to believe that Sarawak Report is full of lies and slander and a fabrication by Clare Rewcastle-Brown to denigrate Najib, then here is an excellent opportunity to denounce all the allegedly false reporting of Sarawak Report - declassify the auditor-general’s report so that Malaysians can judge for themselves. This is the only way to establish the truth - in the court of public opinion.

If the declassified report does not confirm the so-called false claims of Sarawak Report, then the entire country will rally around the prime minister and roundly condemn Clare Rewcastle-Brown. This will shut her up and bring to an end all the so-called lies and falsehoods concocted by her. If the truth is on the side of the government, there is nothing to fear.

But as long as the auditor-general’s report is withheld from the public, Malaysians will continue to disbelieve and doubt the government’s story. The government is morally bound to establish the truth beyond any doubt.

Many Malaysians are wondering why the auditor general’s report is classified under the OSA. What justification is there for it? What incriminating revelation does it contain that the government is so determined to prevent the Malaysian public from knowing?

The question arises - can the government legally prevent this report from being tabled in Parliament for discussion? Has the government the constitutional authority to withhold this report from the elected representatives of the people?

It has been pointed out that the government does not have any such authority to do this. According to Article 107 (1) of the Federal Constitution, “The auditor-general shall submit his reports to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who shall cause them to be laid before the House of Representatives.”

It is, therefore, a constitutional mandate for the Agong to cause the report “to be laid before the House of Representatives.” It cannot be ignored or set aside. It is a mandatory provision which cannot be subverted or interfered with. It has to be honoured.

By merely classifying it under the OSA, the report cannot be prevented from being tabled in Parliament. The government has no lawful authority or basis to do so. Parliamentary convention dictates that members of Parliament have a right of access to this report.

Clare Rewcastle-Brown has thrown down the gauntlet. The only honourable thing for the prime minister to do is to pick it up and respond like a gentleman. He cannot be evasive or remain indifferent to this challenge. His credibility and integrity are at stake. He is our prime minister, and he shouldn’t shame us by refusing to sue Clare Rewcastle-Brown.

Let the attorney-general, who has cleared the PM from any wrongdoing in the 1MDB saga, lead the charge to secure her extradition from Britain to face trial in Malaysia. The honour of the nation is at stake. He must not fail us.

P RAMARISHNAN is an Aliran executive committee member.

Man loses appeal over land purchase

July 12, 2013, Friday Churchill Edward, reporters@theborneopost.com

Federal Court rules that NCR land cannot be sold to anyone outside the community, rights extinguished if original owner abandons the land

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here yesterday ruled that native customary rights (NCR) land cannot be transferred by sale and purchase agreements.

When passing the ruling, the Federal Court comprising Chief Justice Tun Ariffin Zakaria, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Judges Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Tan Sri Surayadi Halim Omar and Tan Sri Hasan Lah unanimously dismissed an appeal by Bisi Jinggot against
the lower courts’ decisions to refuse him a declaration that he had acquired NCRs over several lots of land totaling 37.24 acres at Sungai Agas in Matang.

Bisi, originally from Julau, alleged that he entered into eight sale and purchase agreements with a number of Ibans to purchase the land and paid them the purchase monies. He claimed that the vendors had prior to 1958 created NCRs over the land.

Named as respondents in the appeal were the superintendent of Land & Surveys Kuching, the state government of Sarawak, the scouts commissioner for Sarawak and Lembaga Kebajikan Darul Falah, now the registered owner of part of the land claimed by Bisi.

The land in dispute was used as the site for scouts jamborees, and for the filming of the Hollywood movie ‘Farewell to the King’.

Delivering the unanimous judgment of the Court, Justice Surayadi held that under native custom, the original feller of virgin jungle who occupied the felled area for farming have rights to the land (specifically Temuda) which may be inherited by his heirs.

These rights may be lost by the native abandoning the area. Justice Surayadi held no NCRs so acquired over the temuda by a native may be sold to another person who does not belong to the same community.

He added that even the expert witness Nicholas Bawin, had testified that there is no native custom that allowed the sale of NCR land, but such land may be inherited or if the owner of the land moved from the longhouse, he may transfer his NCR land to relatives such as cousins who in turn would provide him with “tungkus asi”.

This custom of “tungkus asi” had been upheld in a number of decisions of the Native Court of Appeal in Sarawak.

Justice Surayadi also agreed with the submission of State Legal Counsel Datuk JC Fong, that the eight Sale and Purchase agreements were also conditional upon the Government alienating the land by issuing titles to the Ibans who purportedly sold the land to Bisi.

In this case, the condition precedent was not fulfilled, as the title of the land was granted to Lembaga Kebajikan Darul Falah. Hence, the Agreement were legally ineffectual for the purpose of transferring rights over the land to Bisi.

The Federal Court ruled that since Bisi’s alleged acquisition of the land was neither in accordance with native (Iban) customs nor in a manner provided in the Land Code the alleged acquisition was unlawful. His appeal was dismissed with costs, totaling RM20,000 to the respondents.

In a separate Judgment which also agreed that the Appeal be dismissed, Chief Judge Malanjum agreed that native customary rights could not be transferred by the owners of such rights to persons outside their community. He was of the view that legally, under the new NCR land development concept, natives would not be able to enter into joint venture with persons outside their community to develop their NCR land.

Counsels Mekanda Singh Sandhu and Kalveet Singh appeared for Bisi. State Legal Officer Lonie Linda assisted Datuk Fong in representing the Superintendent and the Government. The Lembaga was represented by Counsel Yong See Mee and the Scouts Commissioner by Counsel Baxter Michael.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Police believe Bill Kayong shooting solved with murder weapon recovered

 

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KUCHING: Police believe that they have solved Bill Kayong’s shooting with the discovery of the murder weapon.
At 5pm today, one of the six suspects apprehended earlier this week led the special taskforce to a house at Jalan Hai Nam Lama, Miri, where the suspect pointed out where they hid a shotgun allegedly used in Bill Kayong’s murder.
The shotgun was found with several bullets including a spent casing.
“With the arrest of the suspects and the confiscation of the shotgun, we are confident that Bill Kayong’s murder has been solved,” said the State Commissioner of Police (CP) Datuk Mazlan Mansor in a press statement.
“The Task Force has detected that several other suspects are still free. The details on those suspects cannot be disclosed at this stage. Efforts are still underway to complete the investigation to charge the suspects in court.”
The federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman had set up a special taskforce to investigate the murder of the PKR Miri branch secretary who was shot dead at 8.15am in his Toyota Hilux pick-up vehicle at a traffic light intersection in front of E-mart commercial centre on June 21.
Based on the post-mortem done on June 22, two pellets were found in the wound on his right neck and he died on the spot.
The taskforce was led by Sarawak CID chief, SAC Dev Kumar M. M Sree Shunmugam.
Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2016/07/05/police-believe-bill-kayong-shooting-solved-with-murder-weapon-recovered/#ixzz4DXQptmeD

UCAPAN SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI BARU BIAN



5 Julai 2016

Salam sejahtera.

Bagi pihak seluruh keluarga  dan anggota Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sarawak saya mengambil kesempatan bersempena hari lebaran ini,mengucapkan  Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri  kepada seluruh umat muslim khasnya umat muslim di Negeri Sarawak; maaf zahir batin.

Kesempatan ini saya mendoakan semoga semuanya  berada dalam keadaan sihat walafiat dan bergembira disamping keluarga dan sanak saudara  tercinta . Semoga hari yang penuh kegembiraan ini dapat diraikan dengan penuh kesyukuran dan keinsafan. 

Budaya kunjung-mengujung  yang diamalkan di negara kita akan terus merapatkan silaturahim sesama kita, tidak mengira latarbelakang fahaman dan anutan.  Budaya yang sihat ini akan kita teruskan untuk menyemarakkan lagi kemariahan perayaan.

Disamping  itu, kita akan memastikan semangat kecintaan kepada keharmonian, pembangunan dan perpaduan dikalangan umat berbagai bangsa dan agama akan terus terjalin dengan adil dan saksama.  Menzahir  dan mendoakan melalui ucapan-ucapan yang baik dan bersopan  akan merapatkan lagi hubungan sesama kita.  Saya penuh yakin bahawa rakyat negara kita cukup matang untuk tidak terikut-ikut rentak dan pendekatan politik sesetangah pihak yang tidak bertanggungjawab yang mengapi-apikan isu-isu perkauman dan agama dan juga melakukan perbuatan-perbuatan yang mengundang kepayahan kehidupan rakyat kebanyakan.

Di hari yang mulia ini, marilah kita bersama-bersama berdoa semoga kita dijauhi dari mala petaka yang tidak diingini. Semoga kita semua berada dalam keadaan sihat dan selamat.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
Maaf Zahir Dan Batin

Baru Bian
Pengerusi, PKR Sarawak/
ADUN N81 Ba' Kelalan

BARU BIAN’S HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI MESSAGE 2016
5 July 2016

On behalf of my family and the members of PKR Sarawak, I would like to take the opportunity during this auspicious time to wish ‘Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri’ to all Muslims, especially the Muslim community in Sarawak; ‘Maaf Zahir Batin’.

I pray for good health and happiness for all while enjoying the celebrations with family and relatives. May the days be meaningful and filled with thanksgiving and blessings, and forgiveness where it is required.

The culture of visiting each other that is practised in our country during festivals and celebrations cultivates harmony among us all, regardless of belief and faith. We must continue with this practice, which adds to the joy of the festivities and makes it even more meaningful.

In addition, we should ensure that the harmony, development and unity among the various communities of different races and religions continue to flourish in the spirit of fairness and justice. Openess and courtesy to each other will help foster better relationships and understanding among us. I believe that the citizens of this country are mature enough to reject the irresponsible politics of certain small segments of society who play up racial and religious sentiments and create problems others.

On this happy occasion, let us pray for everlasting safety, security and peace for our country.

Selamat hari Raya Aidilfitri

Maaf Zahir Dan Batin

Baru Bian
Chairman
PKR Sarawak/ ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan